Christmas is just fine, isn't it? After all the lists and check marks, we're here, almost past it, still a lot of eating to do. This is my 84th Christmas (84th birthday coming up in February, narking the end of my 84th year, beginning the 85th - do the math). All the Christmas dinners of my life have become an amalgam of memories. According to Dr. Wilder Penfield and his pinprick experiments (poking different parts of the brain to see what memories emerge), if an incident or event registered in the first place, judicious prodding will bring it up again. The key word is registered; it had to have recorded itself in your brain first, specifically, then cumulatively: a pile of similar experiences adding up to the Ghosts of Christmas Past. We conflate time and look down the wrong end of a memory telescope to view the past, distilled to a kind of single, continuous event. The playwright Thornton Wilder wrote a play "The Long Christmas Dinner " (1931 ) in which the members of a family gather, emerging and disappearing as they come to life or die over 90 years. Another playwright A.R. Gurney wrote a play, "The Dining Room" (1982), reminiscent of Wilder's play, in which the central character, if you will, is the dining room, over a period of years and a collection of people. Distillation is inevitable.
Summers are long, hot and lazy; winters are frosty; fall gleams and spring...erupts, if we're lucky. So - Christmas. Of course, a few of them stand out, and I won't go into detail. You have your own ghosts and memories to deal with. It's a time that invites memories of past people, still alive to us however long ago they lived. On the whole, we should be grateful, even as we miss them still. Long-term memory is so valuable. Have a good one.